“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."

African Union (AU)

African Union (AU)
Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit on January 30, 2015 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Obama gives non-NATO ally status to Tunisia

The US has designated Tunisia a major non-NATO ally, promising enhanced military cooperation. Tunisia, the starting point for the Arab Spring, faces growing security threats - especially from a destabilized Libya.

Deutsche Welle, 21 May 2015

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said Washington intended to confer the special status to Tunisia because of the country's efforts at a transformation to democracy.

Obama said the move should take place "in recognition of our shared values, Tunisia's democratic gains, and our growing security and counterterrorism cooperation."

Tunisia is often cited as being starting point for the 2011 Arab Spring, after a disaffected fruit seller set himself alight.

The North African country has held elections, and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi in December became the first democratically elected leader in Tunisia's 60-year history.

Risk of power vacuum

However, the country faces rising security threats, and in March suffered an attack - claimed by "Islamic State" (IS) - on the Bardo National Museum that killed 21 tourists.

The US president stressed the importance of stabilizing neighboring Libya "so that we don't have a failed state and a power vacuum that ends up infecting the situation in Tunisia as well," Obama said.

The US president, playing host to Essebsi at the White House Oval Office, said the US would offer short-term aid so Tunisia could complete economic reforms.

"At this critical time in world history, we think it's very important for us to continue to expand the economic assistance that we're providing so that ordinary Tunisians can feel the concrete benefits of a change to a more open and competitive economy," Obama told reporters.

'Long path ahead'

Essebsi told reporters that his country had "a long way ahead" to transform its economy and said that it needed US support. "The democratic process is always vulnerable and threatened by chaos, by parties that do not believe in democracy," Essebsi said, via a translator.

While major non-NATO ally status would also mean a greater sharing of military technology and possible ease of restrictions on weapons exports, it would not guarantee US assistance if Tunisia were to be attacked from outside.

Other countries with the designation include Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Korea.

rc/bw (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Zambia lifts ban on hunting of big cats

Yahoo – AFP, 20 May 2015

Zambia has lifted a ban on the hunting of big cats (AFP Photo/Joe Klamar)

Lusaka (AFP) - Zambia has lifted a ban on the hunting of big cats that was imposed over allegations of corruption in the awarding of government hunting concessions, officials said Wednesday.

The decision removes the last remaining restriction of a total hunting ban introduced in January 2013 and gradually lifted since last August, after the government said it was losing too much revenue.

"The hunting of lions will start during the 2016 to 2017 hunting season and this will be done very cautiously," Tourism Minister Jean Kapata told AFP, adding that leopard hunting would resume this year.

"We made sure there were no complaints of corruption and only people that met the required standards were given the concessions."

She said the government was now satisfied with population sizes, with around 4,000 lions and 8,000 leopards in the southern African country.

But conservationists condemned the move, and said the government's figures were wrong.

"The decision is not good at all and frankly we have a crisis," James Chungu, of the the Lusengwa Conservation Trust, told AFP.

"The Zambia Wildlife Authority and the minister are saying we have 4,000 lions but our findings show that we have only 1,500.

"I hope she will reverse this decision."

Government-licensed hunting is common across the region, with tourists paying to shoot a small number of selected animals.

The practice is controversial but many wildlife experts accept that hunting can aid long-term conservation.

In neighbouring Botswana, a group of lawmakers is seeking to end a ban on elephant hunting, saying the animals have multiplied in some areas to unmanageable levels.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Egypt hangs six after controversial military court trial

Six men with alleged ties to a terrorist group were hanged in Egypt after being sentenced in a military tribunal. Three of the men, however, were arrested before the crimes they were charged with were committed.

Deutsche Welle, 17 May 2015

Egypt hanged the six men for alleged ties to the Sinai-based militant group, formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis which has pledged allegiance to the "Islamic State" in 2014, the state-run news outlet Al-Ahram reported on Sunday.

The men were found guilty of planning terrorist operations, targeting security forces, and being members of a terrorist-designated organization. The military court said they involved in an attack on a military checkpoint that left six Egyptian soldiers dead and another on Cairo's security directorate in 2014.

'Abandoned due process'

Police arrested the men during a raid on an alleged terrorist cell in March 2014, which left two police officers dead. Six militants were killed while eight others were arrested following a firefight.

However, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it obtained copies of telegrams sent to prosecutors in December 2013 by family members of two of the convicted men demanding their whereabouts.

"Three of the men now facing execution could not have participated in any of the attacks for which they were sentenced to death because authorities arrested them months earlier and were still holding them in detention at the time, said their relatives and Ahmed Helmy, their lawyer," HRW said in a statement released in April.

Helmy added that three of the men had been arrested in November 2013.

"Egypt's courts have routinely abandoned due process, but if these executions go ahead it will represent an egregious new low. Civilians should never face trial before military courts or face execution as a result," Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle and North Africa director, said in a statement before the executions.

The military court also handed down a death sentence in absentia while two other men were given lifetime sentences.

Islamist crackdown

The hanging comes a day after former President Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to death by an Egyptian court.

Egypt's largest crackdown on Islamists came on the heels of Morsi's ouster in June 2013 by a military coup headed by former defense chief President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi.

The militant group formerly known as Ansar Beit al-Maqdis has allegedly carried out numerous terrorist attacks against Egyptian security personnel in North Sinai.

However, little is known about the Sinai conflict except for uncorroborated statements by Egyptian defense officials due to limited access to the area.

ls/sms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Africa: 'the next China' for contemporary art

Yahoo – AFP, Cecile de Comarmond, 17 May 2015

A piece by late Nigerian sculptor Ben Enwonwu is displayed during an exhibition
of African art by Bonhams in Lagos on April 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

Lagos (AFP) - Giles Peppiatt, from Bonhams in London, had good reason to make the trip to Nigeria's financial capital, Lagos, for the auction house's next sale of African art -- a glut of potential buyers.

On a recent visit, he described Africa as "one of our hottest properties on the art block".

"In some ways, Africa is the new China when it comes to art," he added. "We are investing time, money and people to maintain our presence in this market."

A man looks at a poster featuring part of a
 piece by late South African painter Irma
 Stern during an exhibition of African art by
 Bonhams in Lagos on April 22, 2015 (AFP
Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei)
Bonhams has blazed a trail in the sector, having organised its first "Africa Now" sale of modern and contemporary African art in 2007, which has since become an annual event.

Among its most expensive sales was "Arab Priest" (1945) by South African painter Irma Stern, which was bought by the Qatar Museums Authority for just over three million pounds (4.2 million euros, $4.7 million) in 2011.

"New World Map" (2009) -- one of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui's tapestries embroidered from crushed aluminium bottle tops and copper wire -- went for nearly 550,000 pounds the following year.

A series of seven wooden sculptures by Nigeria's Ben Enwonwu fetched 361.250 pounds -- triple the estimate price.

Increasing interest

Leading African artists were virtually absent from art sales just a decade ago but now contemporary works feature strongly in sales at several international auction houses.

Another El Anatsui tapestry sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby's.

"When institutions such as the Tate (in London) and the Smithsonian (in Washington DC) start to acquire contemporary African art, one then knows something wonderful has occurred," said Peppiatt.

On the back of successful sales in recent years, Bonhams is specialising even more this year, with a selection of modern art going under the hammer this month and contemporary art in October.

In Africa, the Zinsou foundation's museum of contemporary African art in Ouidah, Benin, and and the forthcoming opening of the huge Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art in Cape Town, South Africa, are clear signs of the increasing interest of collectors.

Most of the buyers at Bonhams' "Africa Now" sales are African, explained Peppiatt.

"A lot of collectors are very wealthy Nigerian businessmen," he added.

Director of African Art at Bonhams in London, Giles Peppiatt, speaks during
 an exhibition of African art by Bonhams in Lagos on April 22, 2015 (AFP 
Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

Culture and heritage

"Nigerian art collectors want a piece of their own culture and heritage and are prepared to invest in that," added Bonhams' representative in Lagos, Neil Coventry.

"What's fascinating is that these pieces are being found all over the world. In some cases they are coming back to Nigeria where they are valued and appreciated the most."

Coventry, whose living room walls at his house overlooking the Lagos lagoon are covered with major Nigerian works of art, cites the example of Enwonwu.

The painter and sculptor, who died in 1994, was once as famous a name in Nigeria as Britain, where he was notably the first black African artist commissioned to make a sculpture of Queen Elizabeth II in 1957.

But his name was forgotten and only rediscovered in recent years.

"He was an international artist and Africa's premier modern artist," said Coventry.

"Collectors who bought pieces by Enwonwu early in his career are now getting older and those who have inherited works may have no idea of the value of what they have.

"This rediscovery of Ben Enwonwu's works is amazing."

Positive image

A piece by late Nigerian sculptor Ben 
Enwonwu is displayed during an 
exhibition of African art by Bonhams in
 Lagos on April 22, 2015 (AFP Photo/
Pius Utomi Ekpei)
Ten years ago, Enwonwu's works sold for several hundred dollars but are now fetching hundreds of thousands at auction.

Nevertheless, said Coventry, his work "is still massively under-valued, which is quite unique for an artist who was so accomplished during his own lifetime".

Femi Lijadu is one of several art collectors who will make the trip from Lagos to London for the auction on May 20 and has already pinpointed Nigerian works "at affordable prices".

He will be in the British capital because he is proud of the image the major artists portray of his country.

Lijadu, a corporate lawyer, has some 500 pieces in his collection and remembers the time he began earning a living in the 1980s and buying pictures by the "Grand Masters" of Nigeria.

"At the time we dreamt of the day where the world would finally start to take notice of Nigerian and African art in general," he remembered with a smile.

Judging by the scale of the auction, that day has arrived.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Egypt's Morsi: from election triumph to death sentence

Yahoo – AFP, 16 May 2015

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi gives a press conference
in Berlin in January 2013 (AFP Photo/John Macdougall)

Cairo (AFP) - Mohamed Morsi, who was sentenced to death on Saturday, was Egypt's first democratically elected president until the army overthrew him after a year of tumultuous rule sparked mass street protests.

An Egyptian court issued the sentence to the bearded 64-year-old and more than 100 co-defendants over jail breaks during the 2011 uprising that ousted his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak.

Morsi, sitting in a caged dock and wearing the blue uniform of convicts, raised his fists in defiance when the judge pronounced the verdict.

Nicknamed "The Spare Tyre" after he emerged as the Muslim Brotherhood's compromise candidate to run in Egypt's first democratic presidential election, Morsi nonetheless had a long history of activism with the Islamist movement.

Taking office in June 2012 after the overthrow of longtime ruler Mubarak, Morsi was president for a year that was marked by deep divisions in Egyptian society, unrest and a crippling economic crisis.

Egypt's deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi behind the defendant's
 cage as the judge reads out his verdict sentencing him and more than 100 other
 defendants to death at the police academy in Cairo on May 16, 2015 (AFP
 Photo/Khaled Desouki)

Since being ousted by then-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in July 2013, the Islamist leader has been languishing in detention as he faces a series of trials.

In the first verdict against him in April, a Cairo court convicted Morsi of inciting violence against protesters during clashes in December 2012 when he was president, but acquitted him of charges of incitement to murder for which he could have faced the death penalty.

He was sentenced to 20 years in jail in that case.

A Brotherhood figurehead

Political graffiti painted on a
wall along a road leading to
Cairo's Tahrir Square in Dec.
2011 (AFP Photo/Filippo 
Morsi, the son of a farmer, was not the Brotherhood's initial choice for president.

Hailing from the Brotherhood's political wing -- the Freedom and Justice Party -- he was put forward after one of the movement's powerful financiers, Khairat al-Shater, was disqualified on technical grounds.

On Saturday, Shater was sentenced to death in another trial.

Morsi won the presidential election in 2012 by a narrow margin, with many choosing him in a protest vote against his rival Mubarak's last prime minister Ahmed Shafiq.

But Morsi quickly grew to be disliked by millions, accused of failing to represent all Egyptians and trampling the ideals of the anti-Mubarak uprising.

The veteran Islamist with a cropped beard and spectacles was hardly charismatic and was seen by many as lacking the will to truly lead.

"He was a puppet of the Muslim Brotherhood," said Cairo University political professor Mustapha Kamel al-Sayyid.

"He appointed Brotherhood members in key administrative posts and that really irritated the bureaucracy and the people."

Mohamed Morsi (left) took office as
 Egyptian president in June 2012
(AFP Photo/Fayez Nureldine)
Since being ousted amid mass protests, Morsi has steadfastly rejected the authority of Egypt's courts to try him.

Often seen in a soundproof glass cage in the dock, Morsi has accused military chiefs of violating the constitution and carrying out a coup.

Morsi was born in the village of El-Adwah in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya in 1951, and had been the spokesman of the Brotherhood from 2010.

He graduated with an engineering degree from Cairo University in 1975 and received a doctorate from the University of Southern California, where he was also an assistant professor in the early 1980s.

Married with five children and three grandchildren, Morsi first entered the political arena in 2000 when he was elected to parliament as an independent, given the Mubarak-era ban on the Brotherhood.

Friday, May 15, 2015

US warns Burundi leader against seeking new term

Yahoo – AFP, 15 May 2015

The United States warned Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza against running
 for a third term in office, saying it would "exacerbate" the country's instability (AFP
Photo/Alain Jocard)

Washington (AFP) - The United States on Friday issued Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza a stern warning against running for a third term, saying it would "exacerbate" the country's instability and threaten international aid.

Washington was deeply concerned about the"potential for further violence" after Nkurunziza returned to the country, said Jeff Rathke, a State Department spokesman.

General Godefroid Niyombare, who launched the coup in the central African nation earlier in the week, told AFP by telephone that he wanted to give himself up.

Coup leaders have been arrested and others have been forced on the run by loyalist troops.

The dramatic end to the coup attempt ended 48 hours of uncertainty over who controlled the small, landlocked and impoverished nation, which has been gripped by a political crisis over Nkurunziza's controversial bid to run again for the presidency.

"The US position is that President Nkurunziza... should not stand for a third term," Rathke told reporters.

The president's decision to run "has and will continue to exacerbate instability... in the country," Rathke warned, only a day after he had stressed Washington still regarded Nkurunziza as the legitimate president.

People line the streets as they celebrate the return of the Burundian president
 after a failed coup attempt in the Kamenge quarter of Bujumbura, on May 15, 
2015 (AFP Photo/Jennifer Huxta)

"This threatens the viability of the Burundian government, and it increases the risk of violence and instability that can threaten donor support."

Rathke renewed calls on all sides to exercise restraint, after the State Department late Thursday ordered the families of all US government staff to leave the country.

Amid continuing uncertainty, the US embassy was closed on Friday.

Rathke warned anyone thinking of any revenge attacks that "the world is watching and that they should be held accountable."

Washington could slap visa bans on anyone seen as responsible for such violence.

Related Article:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Rebel groups release hundreds of child soldiers in Central African Republic

Armed groups in the Central African Republic have released hundreds of child soldiers as part of a deal with UNICEF. The agency estimates that up to 10,000 children are working for fighters in the African nation.

Deutsche Welle, 14 May 2015

A young Seleka coalition rebel poses on March 25, 2013 near the presidential
palace in Bangui.

More than 300 children, some who were under 12 years old, were set free under a United Nations-brokered deal on Thursday.

Under the deal, the leaders of 10 armed groups operating in the region agreed to discharge all children under their control, and to not recruit any others.

It's the biggest single release of child soldiers since violence broke out in 2012.

Three separate ceremonies were held to mark the occasion near the town of Bambari, with children freed from the ranks of Christian militia and Muslim rebel groups.

A representative from the UN's children's agency, UNICEF, Mohamed Malick Fall, said the event was encouraging.

"After two years of heavy fighting, the release of children by these groups – on the same day – is a real step towards peace," he said.

"Violence and suffering can now give way to a brighter future for children."

The deal to free the 357 children was finalized earlier this month at a reconciliation forum in the nation's capital, Bangui.

UNICEF says it will reunite some of the children with relatives, while others will be put with foster families while they try to locate relatives.

They have already been medically screened, and will be provided with psychosocial support as they return to normal life.

The latest round of conflict broke out in 2013, when the largely Muslim Seleka rebel alliance ousted President Francois Bozize.

In retaliation, Christians formed vigilante groups targeting Muslim civilians accused of helping support the dominant Muslim regime.

Tens of thousands of citizens fled into neighboring countries to escape the bloodshed, with roughly 25 percent of its population displaced since December 2013.

UNICEF says it believes there are still between 6,000 and 10,000 children working among the fighters in jobs such as cooks and messengers. They are also concerned over the numbers of girls and young women who have been forced into sexual relationships with fighters.

The agency has called for more funding to help with reintegrating the children, saying as of April 30 this year it had only received $17 million (14.9 million euros) out of the $73.9 million (65 million euros) it needed.

The Central African Republic is also in the middle of a child sex scandal, in which several French peacekeeping soldiers are accused of abusing young children during the crisis.

an/kms (AFP, AP, Reuters)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

S. Africa opposition elects first black leader

Yahoo – AFP, Sibongile Khumalo, 10 May 2015

South Africa main opposition party Democratic Alliance newly elected Leader 
Musi Maimane (C) raises his fist as he celebrates his victory, on May 10, 2015 in
Port Elizabeth, South Africa (AFP Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)

Port Elizabeth (South Africa) (AFP) - South Africa's main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, on Sunday elected its first black leader, a major step in its bid to present itself as an alternative to the ruling African National Congress (ANC).

The DA, which has been widely seen as a party of middle-class whites, won 22 percent of the ballot in last year's general election and is looking to broaden its appeal among black voters, two decades after the end of the apartheid regime.

South Africa main opposition party
Democratic Alliance newly elected Leader
 Musi Maimane (L) raises his fist as he
 celebrates his victory, on May 10, 2015
 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa (AFP
Photo/Gianluigi Guercia)
Mmusi Maimane, aged just 34, joined the DA in 2009 and was fast-tracked through the ranks by Helen Zille, who stood down as party leader after eight years in office.

Zille did not publicly endorse Maimane, but he was the clear favourite to win the secret ballot.

"I don't agree with those who say that they don't see colour -- because if you don't see that I am black then you don't see me at all," Maimane told cheering delegates in his victory speech.

"Many young black South Africans continue to be denied access to opportunities, just as their parents were during apartheid -- this is what we must change if we are going to succeed as a nation."

At the end of his speech he paid tribute to his white wife Natalie, who joined him on stage as he received a standing ovation.

Sunday's vote marked "a milestone for the DA and South African politics", according to an editorial in the Sunday Times.

"For much of the past two decades, our political contest has been a black-versus-white affair, with the ANC seen as the party of the previously oppressed and the DA as a party of white interests."

Zuma accused

Raised in Soweto, the heartland of anti-apartheid resistance, Maimane broke away from his family's ANC roots to join the Democratic Alliance.

Last year he was elected the party's leader in parliament, where he has often locked horns with ANC lawmakers and President Jacob Zuma.

The DA has been pushing for legal action against Zuma over corruption allegations, and Maimane vowed to succeed in this pursuit.

"Make no mistake Mr President, you will have your day in court," he told the racially mixed audience.

"Nobody is above the law. And, equally so, no political party has the divine right to rule this country."

The ANC, which has ruled since 1994 when anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela became president, and remains the dominant force in politics, faces tricky local elections next year when the DA hopes to benefit from the government's poor economic record and high unemployment.

South Africa main opposition party Democratic Alliance outgoing leader Hellen
 Zille (C) announces the victory of Mmusi Maimane at the end of the vote for her 
succession, on May 10, 2015 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa (AFP Photo/
Gianluigi Guercia)

But the radical leftist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) party is also on the rise, seeking to gather votes from working-class blacks frustrated with a lack of progress under the ANC.

In her farewell speech on Saturday, Zille said the selection of a new party leader would be "a turning point, not only for the DA but also for South Africa".

Zille, 64, announced last month that she would be stepping down.

"Her resolute commitment to diversify the party's leadership, membership and support base was one of the reasons we were able to double our votes in her eight years as leader," Maimane told the party's annual conference in Port Elizabeth.

The DA prides itself on liberalism and equal opportunity -- as opposed to the affirmative action policies advocated by the ANC to overcome the legacy of the racist apartheid era.

The party has its roots in the now defunct Progressive Party, co-founded by the late anti-apartheid activist Helen Suzman in 1959.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Liberia free of Ebola, says World Health Organization

The WHO has declared Liberia free of Ebola after no new cases were reported for 42 days. However, officials have said they will be cautious about celebrating as the virus is not yet gone from the region.

Deutsche Welle, 9 May 2015

The World Heath Organization (WHO) has released a report on Saturday calling Liberia free of the Ebola disease, after twice the virus' incubation period passed without any new cases. The last Ebola patient in Liberia died on March 27, the organization said in a statement.

WHO recorded more than 4,700 Ebola deaths in Liberia, and over 10,500 infections. While the number of infections was lower than in neighboring Sierra Leone, Liberia lost more patients to the disease; it was hard-hit by the outbreak due to a lack of health services.

Officials and survivors said they are cautious about openly celebrating the end of Ebola in Liberia, as the virus is yet not out of the region. "We're proud of what we collectively managed to do but we need to remain vigilant," said Peter Jan Graaff, head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response.

Elsewhere in West Africa, however, new cases were reported this week in Sierra Leone and in Guinea, the other two countries hit hardest by the Ebola outbreak. According to WHO's latest situation report, each country recorded nine cases for the week ending May 3.

Some 11,020 people have died since the Ebola outbreak began in December 2013, while more than 26,000 have been infected.

ra/jr (AP, dpa)
Related Article:

“ .. The Role of Gaia in Human Consciousness

One of those times might be frightening for you to know about, since it was a full cooperation with Gaia for your termination, and a pandemic almost wiped humanity off the map. A pandemic! Now, you say, "What has that got to do with Human consciousness, Kryon?" Pay attention, dear ones, because this is the day where the teaching was given by my partner, and he put together the Nine Human Attributes. One of the attribute sets included three Gaia attributes and one of them was the consciousness of the planet. Gaia is related to Human consciousness!

Are you starting to connect the dots? You are connected to this planet in a profound and spiritual way. As goes humanity goes the planet's consciousness. Gaia, Mother Nature, whatever you want to call it, cooperates with Human consciousness. If you spend 1,000 years killing each other, then Gaia will do its best to cooperate with your desires! Gaia will look at Human consciousness and try to help with what you have shown you like to do! Did you know this role of Gaia with you? It's a partner with you, fast tracking what you give to it. You may wish to review what the indigenous of the planet still understand. Gaia is a partner!

Pandemic: Don't you find it odd that in the last 50 years, when you have a population of seven billion Human Beings, with up to 2,000 airplanes in the air at any given moment, going between almost every conceivable place, that there has not been a pandemic in your lifetime? There have been five starts of potential pandemics over the last 20 years, yet none became serious. Did any of you put this together? Dear ones, when the world was far less populated a few hundred years ago, with no mass travel to spread a virus, there were still millions wiped out by a pandemic. With the increased population and mass travel, there is far more danger today than before. It doesn't make sense, does it? What happened to stop it?

When you know humanity's relationship to Gaia, it makes sense. Gaia is a life-force that is your partner, watching you change the balance of light and dark and reflecting what Humans want. It has polarity, too! Perhaps it's time to start your meditations with thanking your planet Earth for supporting you in the spirituality of your Akash, for always being with you, a life-force that is always present. The ancients started their ceremonies in that way. Have you forgotten?


Now, I've just set the stage for the next subject, haven't I? Ebola. Are you afraid yet? Gaia is a life-force that is a part of Human consciousness. My partner put it on the screen today so you could see the connections [during the lecture series]. Now it's time to connect the dots. Dear one, Gaia is in the battle, too, for here comes something scary that you haven't had in your lifetime and you're afraid of it - the potential of a pandemic on the planet.

There's a very famous film that has some dialogue that my partner will quote. Some of you will know it and some of you won't, but here it is: "Have a little fire, scarecrow?" What are you afraid of? Darkness? Gaia is in the battle with you and is actively pursuing solutions through light. The energy of the planet is with you in this fight! The ebola virus is a shock and a surprise. It is propelled by ignorance and fear, so it can flourish. Look at where it started and look at how it gets its ability to continue. It expands its fear and power easily with those who believe it's a curse instead of those who understand the science.

Villages are filled with those who refuse to leave their family members because they believe the disease is a curse! FEAR! Instead of understanding that they should be in isolation from the virus, the family dies together through ignorance and fear. This represents how darkness works. Are you going to become afraid also? Dear ones, ebola will be conquered. Know this and be at peace. Pray for light for those in the villages who are afraid, that they can know more about how to keep the spread of this disease and live to see their families. .”

Friday, May 8, 2015

China to launch direct air routes to Africa

Want China Times, Xinhua 2015-05-08

A Southern Airlines flight at Wuhan Tianhe International Airport,
Dec. 16, 2014. (Photo/Xinhua)

China will launch its first direct air route to Africa, according to an announcement by China's Southern Airlines.

Operated by Southern Airlines three times a week, the new route will fly from China's southern city of Guangzhou to Nairobi, Kenya starting on Aug. 5, significantly cutting travel time between China and Africa.

In addition, Air China will follow the suit, opening a Beijing-Johannesburg, South Africa route on Aug. 30 and Beijing-Addis Ababa, Ethipoia on Oct. 26.

Official data showed that the number of air passengers flying between China and Africa increased 15% annually in recent years.

African countries including Ethiopia, Kenya and Mauritius launched air routes to China last summer.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

AU warns Burundi amid renewed clashes, one dead

Police have opened fire on protesters in Burundi's capital, Bujumbura, leaving at least one dead and several others injured. The renewed clashes come a day after the president announced he would not seek a fourth term.

Deutsche Welle, 7 May 2015

"The report we got this morning was that, so far, we have got nine people wounded and one person killed," Burundi Red Cross spokesman Alexis Manirakiza told Reuters news agency. He described the victims as civilians.

President Nkurunziza was elected by
 parliament in 2005 and ran uncontested
in 2010
Military personnel fired warning shots into the air to disperse protesters, who were seen chasing down members of the ruling party's Imbonerakure militia. One pro-government militia member narrowly escaped the crowd before the military intervened, AFP news agency reported.

The clashes came a day after President Pierre Nkurunziza announced that he would not runfor a fourth term if re-elected in June.

Violent protests were triggered in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would be running for a third term in office. Burundian authorities shut down independent radio stations and denied access to social media platforms in an alleged bid to quell violence.

Two-term limit?

Critics lambasted the president's decision to run despite the country's constitution limiting the presidency to two terms.

Nkurunziza's supporters say that running for a third term is in line with the constitution since he was elected by lawmakers and not the people in 2005.

However, Burundi's former president, Domitien Ndayizeye, disagreed with Nkurunziza's supporters. He told DW that the two-term limit was set during the Arusha peace deal, which served as a reference point for the country's constitution. The Arusha accords were instrumental in ending civil conflict which lasted more than ten years.

AU warning

The African Union (AU) issued Burundi a warning that its environment is not conducive to elections scheduled for June.

"You can't be going into a country meeting refugees leaving, and saying 'we are going to observe the elections,'" Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, told Chinese broadcaster CCTV.

"As things stand I don't even see how elections can take place under these conditions."
More than 30,000 Burundians have fled the country to nearby Rwanda and in fear of political violence. At least eight people have been killed since the protests began in April.

ls/kms (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dutch aid alliance with Benin suspended over fraud

DutchNews.nl, May 6, 2015

Dutch aid minister Lilianne Ploumen has suspended the government’s development agreement with Benin because of suspected fraud. 

Research has shown €4m in Dutch aid cash earmarked for the ministry of water has disappeared, the minister told MPs on Wednesday. 

In addition, money has been spent on projects which were not part of the agreement and a number of start-up companies have been given large sums of money, Ploumen said. 

The decision to suspend the agreement was not taken lightly, Ploumen said, adding that fraud is unacceptable. 

‘The Netherlands would like to offer the people of Benin a better future by carrying out effective programmes,’ she said in a statement. ‘But if it transpires that government institutions are seriously failing, then we have to take steps.’ 

It is now up to Benin to carry out independent research into what has happened to the money in order to restore the relationship with the Netherlands, she said. 

The Netherlands is the biggest single donor to Benin in terms of water aid, the foreign affairs ministry said.